How to build trust through content
During difficult times, business as usual isn’t. And that’s why marketing can’t be business as usual, either. During this pandemic—and any crisis—marketing is less about selling and more about building trust, providing education and maintaining customer relationships. That’s why content marketing shines during a crisis. Research finds 94% of business buyers and 91% of consumers say that better access to product information, reviews and more (PDF) increases their trust in and engagement with a company.
Consider these stats: 71% of consumers say if they feel a brand is putting profit over people, they won’t trust that brand again. And 85% of customers feel businesses should be educating audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. How has this played out during the recent crisis? See what these companies have done:
- Burger King® UK recently sent a tweet to its followers, asking them to buy from McDonald’s® and other fast-food chains to support employees whose jobs are threatened by COVID-19.
- The luxury Four Seasons Hotel® New York reinvented itself to become a safe and welcome home—at no charge—to healthcare workers fighting the virus in the hard-hit city at the start of the pandemic.
- Zappos, the ecommerce footwear company known for its stellar customer service, kicked it up a notch with a “Customer Service Anything Hotline,” during which anyone—no purchase required—can ask questions about how to deal with the pandemic, or just talk.
As the “new normal” becomes “the next normal,” look to these content marketing trends, tips and benefits to help guide you along the way.
Before you begin, learn what customers need right now
Customer needs today aren’t the same as they were six months ago or even a month ago. The key to crisis marketing is ensuring the content you create is relevant now. That starts with research:
- What are the top headlines in your industry?
- What problems are your customers trying to solve right now?
- What are industry influencers concerned about?
- What are businesses in your industry doing in response to the crisis?
- What are people searching for in your industry (Hint: Use the free Google® Trends tool).
- What are people are talking about on social media? Check your feed, your competitors’ feeds and industry feeds.
Creating content, whether it’s blogs, guides, videos or emails, that respond to customer needs will help build trust among your customers and prospects, alike.
Crisis marketing: Choosing the right content
The content automation platform, PathFactory, conducted an analysis of how and how much B2B content people consumed during lock downs earlier this year. PathFactory’s findings:
- Digital content consumption increased 42%.
- Consumption behavior changed. While consumption increased, the amount of time spent on individual pieces of content declined.
- B2B customers kept coming back for more—the time between visits for an organization’s content declined 50%.
The findings solidified customers’ desire for education during a crisis—the most viewed content included webinars, videos, ebooks and reports. The take-away: Create educational, not salesy, content that is easily digestible. Content to consider:
- A webinar or video tutorial on how your products or services can help during the crisis. Among some of the best video tutorials of 2020 is the UK brand B&Q’s explanation of how to tile a herringbone wall.
- Have an internal expert explain a timely topic or how-to. This could be written, a video or both. Lunchables® made a series of videos to teach children how to stay safe at school during the pandemic.
- Develop a Q&A with a subject matter expert on topics current in your industry. Again, Q&As make for great written content, but this could also be done in an interview-style video. For example, the World Health Organization hosted a live Q&A on COVID-19 vaccines via Linkedin.
- Develop a report or ebook on recent stats released about your industry, a company case study or a playbook on how to use your product. Include easy-to-digest graphs and charts. Intuit Quickbooks® developed this ebook on tips to help businesses grow.
The topic doesn’t necessarily have to be about your product or service. It could be about industry trends, trending news topics or business how-to advice—so long as it is relevant now.
Adapt, pivot, release with caution
In a crisis, change happens swiftly. In fact, marketing software developer HubSpot® declared, “We have never witnessed such sudden and dramatic shifts in audience need …” So, be prepared to adapt your messaging or pivot away or toward a topic. What seemed like a good topic just days ago could now make you sound tone deaf to what’s happening around you. Before you publish or send content, here are items you should look at:
- Your messaging: Does it take into account the state of the world this minute? If not, consider whether to rewrite, reschedule or just remove the content from your calendar completely.
- Your platforms: Examine where your content is getting the most traction and focus in those areas. For example, if you’ve been posting to social media channels and getting no engagement, change your focus to the spaces where people are showing more interest. This will help you make the best use of your marketing dollar.
- Your quality: While there’s nothing wrong with a good piece of content, right now only the best content will break through.
Content marketing during a crisis like the pandemic requires that you be more adaptable. If you need help developing and executing a winning crisis marketing plan, contact us. We’re here to help.